Headaches Over Ticket Buying for Rio Olympics, Prices Vary Wildly
Headaches Over Ticket Buying for Rio Olympics, Prices Vary Wildly

Tickets for the Rio Olympic Games this summer are still available and are the cheapest since Beijing in 2008, but the buying process has been grueling for some. 

The games, which kick off on Aug. 5, have been made more accessible for Americans, as a visa is not required to visit Brazil from June 1 to Sept. 18. Ticket prices are also more affordable than previous Olympic Games.

But with Zika virus scares, economic issues, and crime worries, ticket purchasing has lagged.

By April, just half of the tickets had been sold, Brazil’s new minister of sports, Ricardo Leyser, told Folha.

Rio2016.com only began selling tickets to those outside of Brazil on June 1; before that, Brazilians had a chance to buy first. Meanwhile, those overseas have been buying their passes through other websites like CoSport.com. But many are complaining that the process is laborious and the tickets are much more expensive than on the Rio2016 site.  

Buying Tickets

Celine Moorer, 35, from Maryland, is traveling to Brazil with two friends for the games. She bought some tickets almost 2 months ago through CoSport, but was unimpressed.

“I didn’t like the process of CoSport and tickets were always sold out, but the news was saying it was available,” said Moorer. “CoSport made it seem like tickets were sold out.”

First, she had to fill out her personal information and create a username and password.

Then, Moorer said, she and her friends had to wait in an online queue for 2 hours—there was a lottery system to buy tickets and they had to request their preferences.

Out of the multiple requests she and her friends made, Moorer was the only one who got tickets.

But when she went to purchase them, the tickets were suddenly pulled out of her cart. She says it happened because she didn’t respond fast enough—yet there was no timer on the webpage for how long the tickets could be held.

She started the process again and was able to get three track and field tickets and two gymnastics tickets.

Moorer purchased the two gymnastics tickets through CoSport for $262. Each ticket was about a $100, but she had to pay more in fees. 

Last week, she checked for tickets on the Rio2016 website after hearing from a Facebook group that the site was offering cheaper tickets. She found tickets for gymnastics and bought one for only $77, including fees.

 General view of the Future Arena during the International Handball Tournament - Aquece Rio Test Event for the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Olympic Park on April 29, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
General view of the Future Arena during the International Handball Tournament – Aquece Rio Test Event for the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Olympic Park on April 29, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

For the tickets she purchased through the Rio2016 website, she had an option to receive them as e-tickets, but on CoSport she had to pay $35 and get them mailed to her home.

Moorer is still waiting for her tickets to arrive—she called CoSport recently to follow up and was told she would receive them at the beginning of July.

“I don’t even want to deal with CoSport,” said Moorer.

Aerial view of Maracana and Maracanazinho with six months to go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on February 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Aerial view of Maracana and Maracanazinho with six months to go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on February 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Moorer called the process frustrating and she had heard CoSport had a bad reputation.

“I heard it was horrible back in London, too,” she said. “CoSport was jacking up the prices.”

Tickets for the women’s volleyball preliminary round at the Maracanã’s Section A were $103 each through the Rio site, while on CoSport they were $178.

Closing Ceremony tickets for the equivalent section in the arena, were priced at $944 through CoSport and $618 through Rio on June 27—a $326 difference.

Moorer says she wishes she could’ve bought all her tickets through Rio2016—it was cheaper, “super easy,” and had more information on events, she said.

The mascots for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Vinicius (yellow) and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Tom (blue) depicted during a family running race event by the Cartoon Network at Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 21,2015. The Cartoon Network, the world wide American pay channel for children and teenagers, and the Organizing Committee of the Rio 2016 Games announced the Network will broadcast the animated series of Mascots' adventures in 32 episodes from August 5th, 2015, on the day one year before the Rio 2016 Olympic games. (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
The mascots for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Vinicius (yellow) and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Tom (blue) depicted during a family running race event by the Cartoon Network at Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 21, 2015. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

Yolanda Dixon, 49, from Georgia, also bought tickets through CoSport 2 months ago—for the opening ceremony, diving, and women’s artistic gymnastics.

“If I had to do it over again, I would buy all my tickets on Rio2016,” said Dixon.

She has since bought tickets for a U.S. basketball game for $103 through Rio2016, as well as men’s gymnastics and swimming.

Like Moorer, Dixon also found out through Facebook that the Rio2016 website was selling tickets.

Although Dixon was not happy about CoSport, she said Rio2016’s decision to let Brazilians purchase tickets before everyone else was the “better thing to do,” since opening up the tickets to the rest of the world at the same time could’ve left locals without a chance to see the games in their home country.

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